Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 30, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: a chinese dissident is apparently being sheltered by americans in beijing today, after fleeing house arrest last week. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the blind lawyer's escape, and the diplomatic dilemma his case poses for the obama administration. >> woodruff: then, we explore how apple and other tech companies take advantage of the tax code, and sidestep millions in state and federal taxes. >> ifill: ray suarez examines the debate in wisconsin over recalling the governor. is it an early test of pro and anti union power for the november elections? >> brown: judy woodruff assesses the strength and influence of al-qaeda one year after the death of osama bin laden.
6:01 pm
>> ifill: and we close with a look at the combat paper project, a program for veterans that turns uniforms into art. >> i felt like there was pressure building up and i had nowhere to turn, no outlet, and the first time i started cutting the uniform i was literally separating away, tearing away at the fibers of war. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> everybody wants to stay healthy. when i moved to the united states almost three years ago i could not find one that worked for me. i became inspired to bring a new definition of quality to the world. today it's working to fulfill our mission of bringing omega 3s to everyone because omega 3s are essential to life.
6:02 pm
>> citi turns 200 this year. in that time, there have been some good days and some difficult ones. but through it all, we persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. >> bnsf railway. >. the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmeal problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
6:03 pm
thank you. >> ifill: the mystery surrounding an escaped chinese dissident deepened today as u.s. officials took pains to say as little as possible about the case. but both countries appear to be working behind the scenes to diffuse a delicate diplomatic situation. i finally escaped. the words of chen guangcheng on this amateur video that emerged friday. it's been wide by reported that the blind self taught lawyer took refuge at the u.s. embassy in beijing. the u.s. officials have pointedly not confirmed it. this afternoon after a white house meeting with the prime minister of japan, president obama declined to talk about chen directly. >> obviously i'm aware of the press reports on the situation in china. but i'm not going to make a statement on the issue.
6:04 pm
what i would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with china, the issue of human right comes up. it is our belief that not only is that the right thing to do because it comports with our principles and our belief in freedom and human rights, but also because we actually think china will be stronger as it opens up and liberalizes its own system. >> reporter: chen ran afoul of chinese authorities by campaigning against forced aboringss used to enforce china's one-child policy. he served more than four years in prison before his release in september, 2010. since then, what security men watching he and his family have been under house arrest. but eight days ago, defight the agents at his home and those posted at the entrance to his village in northeast china, he managed to slip away. now chen has become the center
6:05 pm
of escalated diplomatic tension between the united states and china. just days before secretary of state hillary clinton is expected to arrive in beijing for semi annual talks. she spoke at a washington news conference today with defense secretary panetta and her counterparts from the philippines. >> a constructive relationship includes talking very frankly about those areas where we do not agree, including human rights, that is the spirit that is guiding me as i take off for beijing tonight, and i can certainly guarantee that we will be discussing every matter including human rights that is pending between us. >> ifill: the secretary of state arrived in beijing yesterday, one day ahead of schedule. human rights campaigner bob foo says high level behind the
6:06 pm
scenes talks are under way on a possible deal to grant chen and his family asylum in the united states. >> if he was given a choice to stay in china with the freedom guaranteed, he would prefer to stay in china. but at this current environment, and the chinese translation is almost impossible for that to narrow to happen. >> ifill: in the meantime the country's leaders are still coping with turmoil over a one-time rising star in the communist party. he's now been ousted from his positions and his wife stands accused of murdering a british businessman. >> ifill: for more on this unfolding story, we turn to susan shirk, a professor of china and pacific relations at u.c.-san diego. she was deputy assistant secretary of state during the clinton administration. and sasha gong, director of the china branch at voice of america. born in china, she was jailed for a year during the 1970s for participating in political protest.
6:07 pm
sasha gong, i want to start by asking you, some people are comparing this to the movie, the shaw shank redemption and apparently those words are being banned on the chinese version of twitter today. how did this happen, how did chen escape? >> well, this is indeed more interesting story. and what we got the reporters that actually, he planned for, planned the whole event for a few months, and he pretended to be sick or something like that, just to loosen up the -- he had dozens of guards guarding outside, and he calculated the time of the guards going out to get water and coming back, that's 10 seconds. he used that 10 seconds to somehow to cross the big wall. >> ifill: he couldn't see where he was going?
6:08 pm
>> yeah, he's blind. and we actually talked to the people who took him out who drove him out is that he was injured and he was in not very good condition, but he managed to escape. >> ifill: susan shirk, how sympatheticly is he perceived in china? >> my guess is most people don't know anything about him in china. because of censorship he's probably better known in the united states than in china. most figures like this, they're name is blocked out of the chinese media. so they're not very well-known, certainly shi li was better known than chen guangcheng. >> ifill: so why did we just hear hillary clinton say that she is certainly going to bring up the issue of human rights? what is it about this case which makes that come up now? >> well, he has taken flight
6:09 pm
in the u.s. embassy. this is a blind, set of taught lawyer who has been percent suited for advocating that the china obey its own laws. in banning forced abortion and forced sterilization. now he's sought refuge from the united states. of course we have to protect him. we also have to try to encourage the chinese government to see this as an opportunity. i know that sounds a little naive, but there are many voices coming out of the top levels of chinese leadership right now that are calling for a nation underworld law. so this is the opportunity for the chinese government to show that it really is a nation that is ruled by law. >> ifill: sasha gong, a senior administration official said we're searching for the appropriate balance. in the past the appropriate
6:10 pm
balance has been to focus on discussions between the u.s. and china on trade or currency issues, not necessarily on human rights. is that even possible to find an appropriate balance? >> well, for human rights it should be part of trade, and economic relations. because you can't say, well, we developed trade and the economic relations first and the disregard of human rights, that's not who we are. we are the united states of america, and, well, i think what somewhat the voice of america heard is that original plan of the talk is still, well, we focus on protecting u.s. investments and all that. but after this event, i think human rights will be at the front page, and we will talk about it. >> ifill: is it possible in this situation for chen to stay in china? after all, this is resolved? he's not talked about necessarily seeking asylum in the u.s., even that that's
6:11 pm
apparently on the table. >> before he went in hiding he talked to a few people. we interviewed. and he told his friend he prefer not to leave china, he prefer to stay in china. so i think if he insists on staying in china, it will be a big problem for both countries, both governments. it will say, hey, you have two choices, either set him free, or the chinese government can arrest him, which makes that a bigger problem. or for the united states government and if he refused to leave, what are they going to do. >> susan shirk, what do you think about that? us it possible for him to stay and there is there an appropriate balance that can be struck? >> you know, unless the chinese government does something very dramatic at this point to show that, you know, like firing the head of public security or undertaking
6:12 pm
some major steps forward in strengthening the legal system, i think it's pretty well impossible for them to creditably commit to protect mr. chen, his family, his associates, in a way that we would really believe. so even though he wants to stay in china and certainly if he leaves china, his will, his influence will wither away, that's what happens to all these brave individuals. but i really don't see any alternative to negotiating his asylum in the united states. but remember the last time this happened was fong lee jur, took is a year to do it and now secretary clinton in 24 hours business to land in beijing. i hope that curt campbell has worked miracles, but i'm not very optimistic about coming to an agreement before these talks start.
6:13 pm
>> ifill: let me ask you about something you brought up earlier which is there's a lot of other domestic political turmoil in china right now. is there any connection between this and the other case, or can there be? >> well, there's no direct connection. but i think they're both the result of a system in which the internal security police have really gone out of control. the great insecurity of china's leaders about domestic threats to their rule, have caused them to allow the control cartel, i call them, the internal security people, the propaganda people, you know, they're basically allowed to do whatever they want and the standing committee of the polit bureau is not restraining them. if you look at both these cases, i think they're a reflection of that very deep problem in chinese politics today. >> ifill: sasha, you're nodding as she says that. >> well, this is a very funny
6:14 pm
fact, is that in order to maintain sufficient police system, you have to have some true believers, and in china without any true believers and a lot of resources that put here mainly because there are resources, you look at china today, the chinese government is spending more money on what they call maintaining tranquility, or maintaining stability in the country, than in military. no country ever does this. so in fact they spent more money, it a humongous amount of money which allows local police and the security people to stay there and to put as much money -- >> ifill: what does this have to do with what happens to chen? >> it has a lot to to do with it. look at how many people they put in the detail to monitor
6:15 pm
him. but how easy he escaped, and just think if there's a sufficient police system, monitoring that, and i doubt a blind man can escape dozens of people watch, but he did. >> ifill: and briefly, does this have effect on the obama administration's efforts to try to get on a firmer, calmer track with china? >> of course right now we're trying to both sides working to restore trust in one another. but i can tell you from my own experience in government, that the best way to restore trust is for china to be moving in the right direction politically. it makes a huge, huge difference. and if china hunkers down and tightens up as a result of these two political shocks it's had lately, then it's
6:16 pm
going to be a very rocky road ahead for relations with the united states. >> ifill: susan shirk in san diego and sasha dpong from voice of america, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, tech companies avoiding a big tax bite; wisconsin's recall election; the state of al qaeda after bin laden; and art made from combat uniforms. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: more than 100 people were killed today in a ferry disaster in northeastern india. police said 150 others were rescued or swam to safety. up to 100 more were missing. the ferry flipped over in heavy
6:17 pm
rain and high wind on the brahmaputra river. it was close to the border with bangladesh at the time. search and rescue teams were being hampered by the weather conditions and the river's strong current. parts of the border between sudan and south sudan are now under a state of emergency. the government of sudan took that step on sunday. it said the emergency affects three provinces: south kordofan, white nile, and sinnar. police there will have expanded powers of arrest. south sudan sent troops into part of the border region earlier this month in a dispute over rights to oil wealth. wall street hesitated today over new concerns about recession in europe and a consumer spending slowdown in the u.s. the dow jones industrial average lost 14 points to close at 13,213. the nasdaq fell nearly 23 points to close at 3046. the building that's due to replace the twin towers in new york city reached a new high today. workers erected steel columns on top of the unfinished structure at one world trade center. that made it just over 1,250
6:18 pm
feet tall, enough to claim the title of new york's tallest skyscraper. construction will continue for at least another year. when it's finished, the new building, dubbed "freedom tower," will likely be declared the tallest in the country. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. weigh turn the a side of the tech revolution that don't get much attention, how much leading companies pay in taxes. we take a look at apple, one giant among many, to take perfectly legal steps around a tax code written for an earlier industrial age. the times reported that apple headquartered in cupertino, california uses offices in nevada, where there is no state corporate income tax,and r tax rates like ireland and the british virgin islannds to help cut the taxes it pays around the world. data showing that over the last two years, 71 technology companies in the s&p 500 stock index, including apple, google and yahoo, paid a rate that
6:19 pm
was on average a third less than other companies on that list. apple, for example, paid a collective rate of 9.8% in taxes around the globe, and in comparison wal-mart paid 24%. charles co-most the book, the author of habit, why we do what we do in life and business. also with us, martin sullivan, the chief economist for tax analysts, a nonprofit organization that prices tax news and analysis. charles due hig, i'll start with you. start with a brief example of what you found at the office in reno. what does it do and how does it help apple lower its taxes? >> apple has a small office in reno down an anonymous hallway, named bray burn capital, even the neighbors of this office didn't know what they did there. there's only a handful of people who work there, but apple takes all of its profits from across the united states and funnels them into bray
6:20 pm
burn capital who then manages that cash. because nevada and reno has no capital gains tax, no corporate income tax. so if that money had been sent to cupertino where apple is based, then the company would have had to pay almost 9% taxes on its gains. but as a result of sending it to november, they get to invest that money tax-free. >> brown: martin sullivan, these and other examples, as we said, they're perfectly legal. are we seeing more of it now? >> that's right. charles is describing a state level, what's happening also across international borders. the world is becoming more global, the capital is more mobile because the capital is no longer physical capital, we're talking about technology, pa tents and trademarks, and that can move across borders without any disruption to business. and because our tax laws are leaky, the consultants and the economists and the lawyers that work for these corporations are able to shift the profits out of the reach
6:21 pm
of the i.r.s. and into the tax havens. >> brown: charles, that's what's so interesting about this, it's partly about determining where profits are made by a company, and in an length trnic commerce age that's much more complicated, right? >> that's exactly right. back when detroit was the head of auto manufacturing, it was clear where profits were created. a car was made in detroit, there was a little argument that you could make that some of the money from that should be sent overseas to ireland. but when it comes to things like apps that you download, software, things that have patents as their most valuable component, then can you make an argument or companies can argue that the profits from sale of ipods or other products should be sold, should be sent to other continent, bought that's where they've will indicated the intellectual property for the license for that. >> brown: and therefore you see this discrepancy between tech companies and we give the example of wal-mart? >> that's right. because tech companies and for that matter pharmaceutical
6:22 pm
companies have so much technology, these companies have the opportunity to shift profits that conventional industrial businesses or service companies or retailers just don't have that capability. they make most of their profits from doing things that are located in the united states that cannot be transferred. >> brown: but even a company like companies that are international, that would still make actual products as opposed to the intellectual property? >> well, everybody has international profits, multi-nationals by definition. but what is happening in the case of the technology companies is they do most of their research in the united states and that's where they create most of their value. however, nay assign those rights to tax haven holding companies, and when they do that most of the profits from their primary business is moved off shore. so it's really an order of
6:23 pm
magnitude of difference. >> brown: charles duhigg, i gather apple didn't want to talk about specific offices, but they issued a statement, they basically said we play by the rules, we're proud of our contributions to our communities, and we pay an enormous amount of taxes, all true, right? >> well, it's absolutely true that they play by the rules, every major company does this. this what is the tax code allows. what's less clear is how much apple actually pays in taxes. the u.s. is unique in that the books, the set of books that they release to the public, to the s. e. c., is different from the set of books that they release to the i.r.s.. so we don't know what any company in the united states actually pays in taxes. the only people who know that are the i.r.s. and the company itself. as a result, there's a lot of am big you'dity, apple told us they paid $5 billion so far in this fiscal year in taxes. we don't know if that's accurate or if that's inaccurate. we do know that that includes the taxes that apple employees
6:24 pm
have paid, personal income taxes that the company sends on their behalf. but this gets to the heart of one of the difficult things here, which is it's hard for taxpayers to really know what's going on because we can't see into companies' tax books. >> brown: you're nodding your head. >> well, we can't see exactly into their tax books, but the trends are so large, the movement of profit is so great, that it's very clear that over the last five or 10 years we've seen a trend, where multi-national corporations are moving a greater share of their profits off shore, and not only are they moving it outside the united states, but they are also moving it into tax havens. so this gives them tremendous incentive to locate profits and businesses outside of the united states. >> brown: is, i'll start with you martin sullivan, is all this bringing about a larger debate about, with states at the federal level about changing the tax code as technology changes, as
6:25 pm
commerce changes? >> well, there's an enormous debate going on right now in the international tax community on the one hand there's the argument by conservatives and republicans to totally exempt foreign taxes, foreign profits from tax. and meanwhile, you have folks on the other side of the spectrum who say we need to close these loopholes in order to help pay down the deficit. there is some middle ground. the middle ground would be to reduce our corporate tax rates to improve our competitiveness, as i think almost everybody in washington is arguing for that right now, the president and the republicans. but we need to pay for that some way, and to pay for that we must close loopholes. and this type of loophole that charles is talking about is probably the biggest loophole we have. >> brown: charles, briefly, you were looking at this through the lens also i guess of the state of california in this case? >> that's right. in california misses out on a lot of revenue, as do 20 other states when apple opens up an
6:26 pm
office in reno, nevada. >> brown: so are they, is there a debate under way in states like that over what to do? >> there will be. what's interesting is i call the members of the california legislature, and even they were not actually aware of what was going on. particularly as we're entering this age of austerity, as states are experiencing budgetary difficulties, i think you'll see a lot more conversation about trying to get tax revenues. because the truth is that the tax system which was designed for an industrial age, as you mentioned, is not e equipped for an electronic age, and yet technology is one of the largest growth industries in the united states. so our tax system both at the state and federal level needs to reflect what the actual business of america is now. >> brown: charles duhigg, martin sullivan, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: next, to politics, and
6:27 pm
the recall election in wisconsin. ray suarez has that. >> to the best of my ability. >> so help me god. >> so help me gotta. >> reporter: make many republicans in 2010, wisconsin governor scott walker was swept into office on a wave of tea party support. but after just 16 months on the job, he faces a recall election this june. the effort was born of protests last year, as walker pushed through a new law limiting collective bargaining rights for most public employees. ultimately opponents of the law collected a million signatures to put the governor's recall on the ballot. the two leading democratic challengers are milwaukee mayor tom barrett, who lost to walker in 2010, and kathleen falk, a former countyive. falk has received more than $4 million from labor uns unions, which plays a key role in collecting the really pets. falk played up union support
6:28 pm
in a tv ad last week. >> one was there from the start, one has been endorsed by wisconsin workers. >> reporter: barrett meanwhile has targeted walker's leadership and handling of the economy. >> scott walker has divided our state, and while he's pursued his ideological agenda, last year wisconsin lost more jobs than any state in the country. >> reporter: the democratic primary is next week, but walker isn't waiting. he went on the air last week with a tv ad knocking barrett over milwaukee's unemployment and tax rates. for more on what's at stake and the national implications of the recall, we're joined from madison by fred reek afreyburg of wisconsin public television, and people of both the republican and democratic persuasions watched from the rest of the country, as wisconsin went through its to and fro. is it still attracting that kind of interest from the rest
6:29 pm
of the country? >> well, i think it is, you see the discussions with various democratic candidates and even governor scott walker, the national networks msnbc and fox news, they are on there regularly. so i really believe it is. and also an astonishing amount of money is pouring in here to wisconsin, particularly i think for governor scott walker, much of that is from out of state, we're told, upwards of 61%, we just got kind of a news alert today that governor walker had raised $25 million since november, since the petitions were put out for the recall. and this is quite a staggering number. he had a quirk in the recall election law that allowed him to raise unlimited funds between november and march 30, and now the rest of the reporting until today is in
6:30 pm
and it's $25 million. so i think that speaks to a lot of interest to be sure. >> reporter: labor unions were instrumental in organizing the recall, and they've ponyed up a lot of money for kathleen falk. what's at stake for them? >> that's right. labor unions are kind of the endorsers of kathleen falk, the former dane county executive here in madison, because she came out of the chutes right away and said she would veto any state budget that did not restore collective bargaining. so she got kind of the big name union endorsers. and today, to date they have spent about $4 million on kathleen falk, and again we're still awaiting these latest numbers in campaign financing. but what's at stake for the unions is this idea and former law of collective bargaining here in wisconsin. wisconsin is the birth place of collective bargaining, passed by governor nelson back
6:31 pm
in 1959. and so there's a lot of historical resonance over this collective bargaining bill in wisconsin, and so if they have a candidate that promises to restore it, of course all of the democratic candidates are making that same promise, just not in the same way. >> suarez: you talked about the support pouring in for governor walker from republicans outside wisconsin. what about inside the state? has he managed to consolidate his administration, fine his footing, raise his approval rating? >> we are told by charles franklin, a well-known pollster at marquette universities, that in terms of governor scott walker's favorability rating, it's really just about even with the now frontrunner who is mayor tom barrett. so charles franklin says that this state, above all, is evenly split. now, has governor walker found
6:32 pm
his footing? i would say absolutely. he came out strong, he imposed these new changes, these new laws, and at least half of the state very much aproves. >> suarez: speaking of mayor barrett, there's a family fight on the democratic side, the primary is a week from tomorrow, which sets off a basically 30-day sprint until the finals. will the democrats consolidate around who ever wins next tuesday's primary? >> i think the thought is that they will. but there is kind of this family feud amongst the candidates right now. and the fear there, of course, is that if you pit one candidate against another, it doesn't do much for the event you frontrunner running against the incumbent. on the other hand at least one of the unions, the state's largest teachers union who was first out of the chutes to endorse kathleen falk, has said that they will endorse and back who ever emerges out of this primary.
6:33 pm
>> suarez: at the same time, there are a bunch of state senate recalls, lieutenant governor recalls. there is unprecedented for wisconsin, isn't it? >> it is. we did have some senate recalls last summer, and now we have more. yes, there is campaigning going on across this state. republicans are calling it a do-over. democrats are saying they simply have to take back these seats. right now actually as a result of one of the republican state senators resigning, we have an even split in the state senate. so there is some possibility that if any of the democrats pick up any of the republican senate seats, that majority could go to the democrats. >> suarez: freed reek ka freyburg of wisconsin public television, thank you for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> brown: now, the state of al
6:34 pm
qaeda one year after the u.s. launched a military strike to eliminate its leader. judy woodruff has the story. >> tonight i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. >> reporter: the president's dramatic late night announcement one year ago heralded the end of a 10-year manhunt. on a dusty road in pakistan, navy seals stormed the high wall compound where american intelligence finally tracked the man who had eluded capture for so long. bin laden's deputy, egyptian physician a with ary, assumed al qaeda's leadership, he remains at large and has fledged to continue attack. and even president obama in announcing bin laden's killing warned it was not the death nell of the organization he had founded. >> the death does not mark the end of our effort.
6:35 pm
there's no doubt that al qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. >> reporter: but the u.s. has pursued its own attacks, a relentless campaign of missile strikes by drone aircraft, have hit the militants in their traditional home base. pakistan's wild frontier, including a strike just yesterday. >> there is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose, or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battle field. >> reporter: in washington today john brennan, the president's top counterterror advisor, gave the most detailed account yet of the drone campaign, and the results. >> al qaeda has been left with a handful of capable leaders and operatives and with continued pressure is on the path to its destruction. >> reporter: drone fired missiles at even targeted american citizens, like the yemen based cleric on war al awlaki.
6:36 pm
brennan offered this appraisal. >> for the first time since this fight began we can look ahead and envision a world in which the al qaeda core is simply no longer relevant. nevertheless, the dangerous al qaeda has not disappeared. as the core falls, it continues to look to affiliates to carry on its hour us owes murder us cause. >> reporter: from iraq to yemen, through east and west africa, to the islamic magreb of north africa. at the same time, al qaeda's popularity has cratered in much of the muslim world. a new survey by the pugh research center found that in pakistan where bin laden was killed, 55% disapprove of al qaeda. in egypt, birth place of al sawahiri, 71% disapprove. and in lebanon, 98% of muslims
6:37 pm
reject al qaeda's message. bin laden may have been partly mindful of such sentiment. his captured correspondent spoke of frustration at the mistakes made and, quote, disaster after disaster. for the group he commanded from his come pound in pakistan. raised by the government earlier this year n. the meantime a decentralized al qaeda still plots and conducts attacks, both here and abroad. from a failed cress day try to down an airliner over detroit to the attempted bombing of times square. the spectacular intent remains. without so far the disastrous results. for more we turn to brian fishman, a fellow at the new america foundation, and a researcher with the combating terrorism center at west point. and david ignatius, a columnist for the washington post, who has had access to some of the documents found in the bin laden raid. we thank you both for being with us.
6:38 pm
david, i want to start with you. one year after the killing of osama bin laden, how much of a threat is al qaeda? >> from everything we know, core al qaeda really has been devastated. bin laden and his top department tees, his most important deputy, the person he asked to carry out a plan to kill president obama and general petraeus, they're all dead. and he was so worried about the effects of our predator drone attacks in the tribal areas of pakistan that he told his people in one of the documents that i read to get out, that it's just too dangerous for you there. so core al qaeda is decimated. the affiliates are still operating, the one in yell en, which bin laden himself said in one of these document has the best chance of any of the al qaeda affiliates, is still going strong to the point that we've had to step up our predator attacks there. >> brian fishman, how do you
6:39 pm
see what's left of al qaeda? >> i agree with david. the organization especially the central core has been decimated. but the organization still does have some strength. when you think about al qaeda, it's really trying to do two things. on the one hand it's trying to conduct attacks against the u.s. home lab and the west, and on the other hand it's trying to build what they would call bases of support in various locales around the world, the most important of those right now is in yemen. but there's still an al qaeda organization in iraq, north africa, somalia, and still this small group in pakistan as well. i think what's interesting about al qaeda today is that as much as we have decimated the group through drone strikes and those sorts of things, al qaeda really stabbed notice the foot. especially with its targeting of muslims. between 2004 and 2009, a study by some of my colleagues at west point found that 85% of al qaeda's victims were muslims. and that really belies al qaeda's lie where they have
6:40 pm
tried to advance themselves as the vanguard of muslims around the world, while at the same time they were killing muslims more than anybody else. i think that as much as anything has undermined al qaeda's ability to be the coherent and cohesive terrorist organization going forward. >> so david, they've hurt themselves as much as they've been hurt by the u.s. and others? >> well, bin laden himself in the year or so before his death was so convinced that al qaeda had tarnished its name by killing muslims, by this collateral damage fighting against the u.s. in iraq and afghanistan, but leaving so many muslims dead, that he actually wanted to change the organization's name. so from our standpoint the best thing that happened is that this violent terrorist means of jihad, means of striking against foreign influence in the muslim world, has been discredited. what you see is still strong, is the idea that bin laden and
6:41 pm
so many other muslims have that western influences is too pervasive, they want it out. so we've seen in these arab uprisings over the last year a continuing force for that idea, which was an idea that bin laden had too. >> so brian fishman, the organization may be degraided, but the idea, the philosophy, the driving al qaeda may be as strong as it was? >> well, i disagree with that a little bit. i think that certainly there is frustration in the arab and muslim world about what they, what folks might consider too much american or western influence. but al qaeda's ideology goes beyond that and really recommends a violent means of changing the political dynamic in the middle east, and also prescribes this very vir you lent form of what they would call islamic law, but i think a lot of folks in the region
6:42 pm
would reject. so you can be frustrated with the united states and not support al qaeda, and i think that you see that in some of the political islamist movements that have sprung up and achieved some sort of power in the wake of the revolution in the middle east. >> and david, pick up on that, you mentioned a minute ago the arab spring, the arab awakening of what does that say about al qaeda, is it an affirmation or something very different? >> no, as brian says, what's happened in the last year is a rejection of the super violent tactics that bin laden and al qaeda had used to try to purge this western influence from the islamic word. but that idea is still there, and the people who were the ideological forebears, the father of the muslim brotherhood, those are the people that many of these new islamist politicians who were in office, members of the
6:43 pm
egyptian parliament, these, they look to these people and their indignation against the west and desire to have a separate kind of life, and i think that again the best thing going forward is that people are doing this now through parliament, through elections. they may reject the west, but they're not trying to blow up americans in these countries, and that's a big change. >> is that how you would see it, brian fishman, that it's there but it's not the direct threat to the u.s. that al qaeda has been? >> yes, i think in many ways the arab spring revolution, especially their, in egypt where it was a relatively peaceful revolution was a clear repudiation of al qaeda's strategy for changing the political die nam knicks the middle east. but it's also important to newport that while there is a shared intellectual lynn age between the muslim brotherhood and groups like alka a, al qaeda looks like the brother had as out foremost enemy, more so than the united states,
6:44 pm
because it sees groups like that as competing for the same constituencys that it wants to lead. and al qaeda knows that it's not going to lose a lot of supporters to the united states directly, but it will lose supporters to the muslim brotherhood if groups like that are able to demonstrate that they can seize political power and really influence the way that government is structured in that part of the world. >> and david, in a final few seconds, what posture then does the united states have in that struggle between al qaeda and the muslim brotherhood? >> well, we're going to keep going, the u.s. will keep going after al qaeda wherever it finds people who are dedicated to the violent change and killing of americans. remind me a little of the situation in europe, in 1948, 1949 where the u.s. looked to the social democrats to the people on the left who were not violent communists, who were going to try to change europe, maybe we've turned that corner. a year after, that would be the hope that i'd express. >> david ignatius, brian
6:45 pm
fishman, we thank you both. >> ifill: finally tonight, transforming the wardrobe of war into art. in 2007, a returning iraq war veteran, trying to make sense of his experience, cut up his battle dress uniform and, together with a friend, made paper from the fibers. the combat paper project was born. five years later, in new jersey, the project has launched a permanent workshop for veterans hoping to reconcile the good and bad of lives spent at war. we met four of them. here are their stories in their own words. it's about making the paper, it's about sharing stories and making the art. i was shocked when i first heard about this program. a friend of mine said you got to check out this program called combat paper, it's a traveling workshop going around the country. they cut up uniforms and make paper out of them. >> my name is david keith, i'm the director of the combat paper program. here in new jersey.
6:46 pm
i was a marine scout that patrolled the euphrates river in 2006. >> the coming home from any war is very hard, to share your experiences, to families and friends, so within your community. you hold back, you suppress them. we provide a community that's veterans, talking with other veterans, and we have a unique way of transforming the experiences, they want to be able to feel whole in a community. and to take a uniform, to cut it up, reconstitute it, make it into pulp, make it into paper and eventually put art on top of it so they can hang it on the wall or give it away, that is the platform that allows the veterans to feel confident and comfortable communicating to their friends and family. we like to say that's bridging the gap. the first step is we cut up this uniform, so we have to get it down to a postage stamp
6:47 pm
size. down here is our wet room. so this is where we have our beater. go right in here we have uniforms from the first part of the iraq war. we have old, there's the new army dij ta pattern is in here. after it runs through the beater for a few hours, this is what comes out, and this is all that uniform broken down into pulp. now we want to reclaim those experiences by making them into something new, something different. and it's paper. >> press, and there's your paper. >> one of the silk screen of the boy, myself and the boy, that's comes from a direct photo taken of me with this little boy named razul who i'll never forget, he was this little kid that i had met on a patrol. but i couldn't get over the
6:48 pm
fact how much i looked like an alien to him, this big monster with all this gear on me. i remember going back to that area a few times and seeing the same family, just around, and i remember one time i went back and they were completely gone, and that weighs on me. i do see his face a lot, in dreams. when i look at my own son, i see his face a lot. i was still in the army when the combat paper project began. what i found with this is that it allowed me to turn off the chaos a little bit, and to just lose myself in the process. >> my name is ely wright, i served in the army from i enlisted shortly after 9/11 and i served until 2008. i was a combat medic, served in iraq from 2003 to 2004. it's very much a release, the first time i started doing it, i felt like i was just letting off the pressure, you know, i felt like there had been all
6:49 pm
this pressure building up and i had nowhere to turn, no outlet, and it felt the first time i started cutting the uniforms, i was literally separating away, tearing away at the fibers of war. one of the first pieces i did, which is titled open wound, it's a very simple piece, it was a very dark black pulp and i had a very bright red pulp and basically just slammed the red pulp into it and it created this gaping open wound in the paper, and i felt like i was sort of closing up some of the wounds that i had had. i was finding release in that and learning to let go of some things. >> so i couldn't find any of my uniforms left so, i'm borrowing someone else's uniform and i'm starting to cut into it and thinking this is ridiculous, until i really physically get into like this really is cutting through a lot of history. i served in the army in vietnam, 1962, 1963.
6:50 pm
we really were proud to wear that uniform with all those things that were on the uniform, and now you're cutting into it and remixing those memories or those bone deep sensations. and at a certain point, the creativity starts flowing in terms of the discussions that are going on. what am i going to do with the paper. so i decided to do a small collection of poetry, life after war, it can creep' up on you. it came back in pretty good shape, but knew others who died. write, talk, create art about war, share what's happening with others. one day, damn, you're an old-timer who has lived a lot of life, after a war. >> coming into this atmosphere i was, i knew i had things inside that i had never talked about and i was intimidated how vulnerable it would feel to have them come out.
6:51 pm
it's amazing how similar stories from our war are the same as stories from world war ii. chopper went down, and there was like six guys that went down and drowned with the chopper. and i remember this one kid that we pulled out and he was smiling back at me, and i'll never forget his face. >> i don't know how many sundays i've been here. all i know is that from the first sunday that i came here, since then i've been here every sunday. we suffer in silence, kind of like the grim reaper, always lurking in the shadows and you never know when it's going to pop out and rear its ugly head. my name is sarah mack and i served in the united states army from 1992 until 2000. and i served with the 42nd field hospital in 1993, during the second rotation in mogadishu somalia.
6:52 pm
it's like a letting go, like shredding the past. attempt to shred the past. so when i'm creating something, which by the way i haven't created anything yet, i've been cutting up my uniform and cutting up other uniforms and it's been triggering on many levels to even begin to think about what i want to express about my experience. because it's like, yeah, i can look at someone's words on combat paper and say, yeah, i feel that same way, or i experienced that too. because i feel like it's one place where i'm understood. my family doesn't understand me. a lot of the people that knew me before somalia don't understand me. and i feel like i come here
6:53 pm
and it's okay. whatever changed me, you know, about somalia, here it's understood and it's okay. >> ifill: there's much >> ifill: there's much more about the combat paper project on our web site,, including a slideshow of veterans' art projects and an expanded look on how combat paper is created. also, if you're a veteran involved in arts therapy, please share your story with us on our art beat page. >> again, the major developments of the day. president obama declined to discuss the case of a chinese dissident who's apparently being sheltered by americans in beijing, after fleeing house arrest. and more than 100 people were killed in a ferry disaster in northeastern india. two corrections before we go tonight. on friday's broadcast, we reported that u.s. economic growth expanded 2.2% in the
6:54 pm
first quarter this year. we should have indicated that was an annual rate. and we said spain was the fourth largest economy in europe. it's the fourth largest in the eurozone, but fifth in europe using gross national product as the measure. online, we continue our coverage of the presidential campaign. hari sreenivasan has the details. hari? >> sreenivasan: in this week's political checklist, gwen, judy and political editor christina bellantoni discuss how the anniversary of osama bin laden's death is playing out on the campaign trail. also, they examine how the electoral college map looks at this point for both president obama and mitt romney. that's on our politics page. on our world page, our series on pakistan continues with a look inside a madrassa. and on art beat, jeff talks to poet w.s. di piero, the winner of this year's ruth lilly poetry prize, a $100,000 award given by the poetry foundation for lifetime accomplishment. all that and more is on our web site, >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we update the story of the chinese activist.
6:55 pm
i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> at&t. >> citi. supporting progress for 200 years.
6:56 pm
by nordic natural. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on